Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance Ireland (FARA Ireland) is a non-profit, non-governmental patient organisation representing people with Friedreich’s Ataxia in Ireland.
What is Friedreich’s Ataxia?
Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA) is a progressive, debilitating, life shortening, degenerative, rare, neuro-muscular, genetic, disorder. It usually manifests itself in children between the ages of ten and sixteen years. However, in some instances the onset for FA can be both at a younger age or at a much older age.
Initial symptoms include clumsiness of movement, weakness and muscle loss which causes an unsteadiness in standing and walking which can be mistaken for drunkenness.
As the disorder progresses, it can cause vision impairment, hearing loss, slurred speech, aggressive scoliosis (curvature off the spine), diabetes mellitus and a serious heart condition often co-exist.
People with FA eventually are wheelchair dependent often in their late teens and sometimes earlier. As the years progress, people with FA become totally physical dependent.